Average gas prices surged to more than $6 a gallon in Los Angeles/Long Beach and Ventura this week, with reports of two Southern California refineries having production issues as the major factor for the increases, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch.
The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.88, which nine cents higher than last week. The average national price is $4.24, which is five cents lower than a week ago and nine cents lower than the record price of $4.33 reached on March 11.
The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $6.03 per gallon, which is 14 cents higher than last week, $1.21 higher than last month, and $2.10 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.98, which is 16 cents higher than last week, $1.20 higher than last month, and $2.05 higher than last year.
On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.94, which is 14 cents higher than last week, $1.20 higher than last month and $2.06 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.92, which is 14 cents higher than last week, $1.19 higher than last month and $2.05 higher than last year. In Bakersfield, the $5.83 average price is 12 cents more than last Thursday, $1.15 higher than last month and $2.04 higher than a year ago today.
“Los Angeles-area drivers are paying 70 cents more per gallon of gas than the most expensive area in Hawaii, ,” said Auto Club spokesman Doug Shupe. “In addition to issues at the Torrance refinery which started on March 6 and seems to have been resolved this week, Oil Price Information Service reports that the Valero refinery in Wilmington would delay its planned restart after maintenance until the end of this month or early next month.”
For drivers wondering how they can help cut their fuel usage, the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center conducted a study in 2018 revealing that drivers maximize their fuel economy by keeping an average speed of 60 mph, saving anywhere from 6% to 12% compared to driving 65 mph. Those driving at speeds of 80 mph or 85 mph, on the other hand, waste up to one-third of their fuel economy compared to those driving 65 mph.
The Auto Club reminds drivers of the following tips to save money on gas:
- Look into carpooling if you commute a significant distance. Carpooling with one other person cuts commute costs in half, and with two other people, you can cut your commute costs by two-thirds.
- If you use premium unleaded fuel, make sure it is required for your vehicle, not just recommended. The Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center found that vehicles with recommended premium fuel performed safely with regular unleaded gasoline.
- Make sure your tires are properly maintained and inflated to the correct level.
- Maintain your car according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular service will ensure optimum fuel economy.
- Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard accelerations. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.
- Slow down and drive the speed limit. Fuel economy peaks around 50 mph on most cars, then drops off as speed increases. Reducing freeway speeds by 5 to 10 mph can increase fuel economy by as much as 14%.
- Use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because you could lose control of the vehicle.
- Minimize your use of air conditioning.
- Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in colder temperatures. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.
- Remove unnecessary and heavy items from your car.
- Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use.
- Download the AAA App to find the cheapest gas prices near you.
The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on March 24, averages are: